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Q&A - Eric Boullier, Lotus

Lotus boss Eric Boullier looks ahead to the third round of the new F1 season in Shanghai
Q:
What are your thoughts now you've had some time to reflect on the first two races?

Eric Boullier:
Australia was fantastic in terms of the race win and Kimi's performance. For Romain, it was a more difficult weekend and we've been working hard to improve things for him; the results of which were seen in Malaysia where he had a much better race, even if it was quite a difficult weekend overall. As a team we faced a tough event which exposed one of our weaknesses; namely our performance when the conditions are wet. That said, when you take into account our qualifying positions and the difficult start for both drivers I think the points we took for sixth and seventh is a solid result. We didn't see the full potential of the car, and the time we lost at the start was always going to be difficult to catch up.

Q:
What have you made of Romain's performances so far this season?

Eric Boullier:
Romain hasn't been able to get the car immediately to his liking and that is never beneficial for a driver. He's compared with Kimi, who has a tremendous amount of experience at knowing what he wants from the car and how to get it. Whilst Romain struggled in Australia, we saw a strong drive from him in Sepang. He was unlucky in qualifying as his single lap pace looked good, but then of course the rain took away his chance of making Q3. During the race he managed the strategy well, raced hard, and I think he also demonstrated that the work he's done over the winter has paid off. He has proven that we can count on him.

Q:
Team orders; what's your view?

Eric Boullier:
Team orders are part of the sport. You have two main strategies to run a team. You might favour one driver, clearly stating 'driver number one' and 'driver number two' if your target is chasing the Drivers' Championship title. Alternatively you have both drivers equal, as this is the way you want to go racing, meaning the team holds a lot of importance. The team gives both drivers the same cars, the same conditions, the same performance, but there is a commitment from the team to the drivers. In that case I can understand team orders, because you are working for the team, not for the drivers; they are working for you. Sometimes it seems that emotion takes over, but don't forget that the drivers are paid to work for you, as they are for the company. I don't see any people in the world who could disobey their company and not be sanctioned, or at least give clarification as to why they've disobeyed.

Q:
Have you ever been in that position with drivers potentially disobeying orders?

Eric Boullier:
Yes, it happens because of the adrenaline and excitement of winning a race, but I think in Formula 1 it should not happen. Firstly, we should not have team orders so early in the season; not while the championship is at such an early stage. When it happens you need to fix it and fix it quickly. Yes, one of our drivers if famous for doing pretty much what we wants, but when you have 600 people behind you, there is a certain respect you must have for the team.

Q:
It's the strongest start to the season we've had since you've been in charge; how are you feeling?

Eric Boullier:
It's still early days; as usual we'll wait to see how the first four races go before we can predict anything and when we're back to Europe we'll have a better idea of where we are and what we can achieve.

Q:
How are Kimi and Romain looking from your point of view?

Eric Boullier:
We have a Kimi who is happy to be back racing, completely up to speed after a full year since his return and clearly chasing the Championship. At the same time we have a Romain who has come back from a tough 2012 and has built himself over the winter - he's now facing the challenge of putting that into practice, but he's doing well.

Q:
The team looked promising last year in Shanghai; what are your thoughts heading into race three of the season?

Eric Boullier:
First of all, I think we can take some positives from Malaysia. We've made a step forward with the car in terms of single lap pace, but still the race pace looks strong as well. For China, Romain will have the upgraded exhaust and bodywork package which Kimi ran in Malaysia, plus there will be a few additional parts arriving so it's going to be quite interesting. Coming away from a race feeling like sixth and seventh is a bad result for the team shows how far we've come, so we'll keep pushing and with a normal weekend I'm sure we can expect some stronger results.



Tagged as: Shanghai , Sepang , Lotus , Eric Boullier

Related Pictures

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Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal. 02.03.2013.
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22.08.2014- Free Practice 2, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
22.08.2014- Free Practice 2, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9
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22.08.2014- Free Practice 1, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22

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